E: The dream is over.
Ironic, then, that the episode starts with a dream of danger. “Wake up!” Grace’s terrified voice pleads. “Mom, I need you!” Alicia lifts her head off her pillow, unsettled. I’m sure part of the disquieting feeling comes from the Law & Order style “cha-chung” noise that ends the dream.
“We’re fine, Mom, we just left Dad’s,” Grace explains from the passenger seat of – eee! – Zach’s car. “What’s wrong?” Why am I squealing over Zach’s car? Is it just the weirdness of seeing him drive? The Jackie-free zone the car implies? Whatever caused it, I got a silly little thrill. Sue me. Okay, so. What else. I like Grace’s little military inspired jacket. Very cute. “Nothing,” claims Alicia, shaking her head as if to clear it, “I just – nothing. Just checking in.” Alicia’s walking outside, wearing a wine colored suit under a wool coat. “Zach’s driving safe,” Grace volunteers, and I don’t know why, but if I were Alicia, that assessment probably would not reassure me. Alicia smiles. “I know, it’s not that – but tell Zach not to get on the Expressway.” Right. Big vote of confidence, Mom.
Grace passes on the message to Zach. “Oh,” she remembers, “your firm was on the radio.” Alicia voices her surprise. “Something about a white supremacist?” Zach remembers the name; Donny Pike. Ah. Colin Sweeney’s old friend Donald. “He got some witness killed.” Betraying that odd concern, Alicia immediately assume it was Sweeney, but it wasn’t. “Just some witness,” Grace cavalierly declares. Just some dead person.
“They said your firm was involved,” Grace adds before Zach motions to her to wrap it up. They’ve just arrived at school. “Love you,” Grace finishes, but Alicia’s still too panicky to leave it there. “Leave a note for me on the fridge if you go anywhere after school, okay?” Oh, poor honey. It can be so unsettling, waking up like that, with that vague notion someone in your life is threatened.
Caitlin D’Arcy nearly falls over her herself loading books and binders onto a table in what looks like an old lecture hall, the kind patterned after a church. (You know what I mean – huge echo-y space, vaulted wood ceilings, Neo-Gothic spires, dark paneling, stained glass windows, that kind of thing.) She takes a shaky breath. “I’m not ready,” she declares, her blond locks bouncing. “You are,” Alicia cries warmly. Ha! You’d never guess that Alicia didn’t want to hire this girl. She’s very maternal in a bracing sort of way, not sentimental, but confident. Her eye contact is steady and reassuring. “You’ll be fine.” It’s my first time in court, squeaks Caitlin. “This isn’t court, it’s arbitration,” the calm Alicia reminds her charge. “It has a $35,000 cap.” Oh, well, if that’s all. Nothing to worry about there! “The opposing lawyer will most likely go through the motions. It’s the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet. So present your case solidly, confidently, with as little fuss as possible.” Alicia waves to a woman in a brown sweater who sits by them. “Okay,” Caitlin sighs, and waves to the woman – ostensibly their client – as well.
And that, friends, is when Martha walks in the room.
“Oh, I think that’s the other attorney,” Caitlin chatters, “I don’t think she looks too intimidating.” Alicia, however, looks grave. They smile at each other; Martha looks pale and severe. “Martha, what a surprise,” Alicia greets her first choice. There’s no pleasantry in response, however. “So, that’s who you hired instead of me? Is she good?” She points to Caitlin, with what might be water in her eyes. Yes, Alicia nods pleasantly. “Well. She sure is blond. What pretty hair.” Oh dear. But Alicia smiles. “Well, I’m glad to see you landed somewhere, Martha. Canning & Meyers seems like a perfect fit.” “Yes,” Martha nods, “with 20% less salary, because I thought I was going to be hired somewhere else.”
Oh. Dear. Bitter!
Alicia’s shocked, and fishes around a bit for the right response to this impolite bit of honesty. “I’m not here to offer you life lessons, Martha, but you seem a bit young to be holding a grudge.” Really? Big time fail on finding that right response, Alicia. What a patronizing thing to say. I mean, I get that she attacked you for something which wasn’t your fault, but that was the best you could do? “You are right! You are not here to offer life lessons,” the dark associate nods, “good luck.”
“Good luck,” Martha cheerily wishes Caitlin before sitting down. “Do you know her?” Caitlin asks of Alicia. “I do,” admits Alicia, looking like she’s chewing on a lemon. She deliberates a second and then bends over. “How confident do you feel about this case?” “Pretty good,” Caitlin looks up at her mentor. “Remember when I told you to just give a solid performance?” She does. “Forget it. Kick ass.”
“Your cell phone is ringing, Will,” Diane notes of the buzzing phone on her desk. “It’s Alicia. Want me to give you some privacy?” Oooooh. Her tone is so acid, I love it. Staring at Diane, Will picks the phone up and answers it, but he’s already missed the call. “You know, one thing I’ve always liked about you, Diane – you never played games.” Diane – golden as a lioness – glares at her partner. “You think I’m playing a game?” “I think you need to stop mothering,” he nods. “I can take care of my life.”
She looks down at her desk, pen in hand. “It’s not your life when it impacts me,” she reminds him. Well, it’s not just his life. “Your relationship with Alicia impacts me.” She doesn’t raise her head until the last second. He looks away first, picking a legal document up off her desk; it’s the renewal of partnership agreement for Lockhart/Gardner. When he walks away, she doesn’t look up.
“The State’s Attorney’s Office is no longer pursuing drugs, they’re pursuing you,” Kalinda reminds Will, and the audience. They’re sitting in Will’s office. Thanks for the tip, sweetheart, but I really really hate to see you with old news. Aren’t you too smart for that? “I know,” Will exposits, “I heard Peter put Wendy Scott-Carr in charge of the investigation.” Kalinda’s heard that too. Dana and Cary are still players, but not in the driver’s seat. “But Peter’s still in charge, right?” She can’t say. “I need to know if…” he breaks off the sentence, unsure of himself. Kalinda looks back to see that Diane is watching them. Oh, those glass walls. “I need to know how personal this all is. If I made changes here.” He doesn’t look Kalinda in the eye; he’s twitchy and uncomfortable with the thought, caught between extraordinary forces. “Would the investigation go away?” He finally looks at Kalinda, who clarifies the question. “If you stop being close with Alicia, would the investigation go away?”
“I don’t want that question asked,” he scowls. Yes, because if he does, then his relationship is on the table, a bargaining chip. But how can he defend it to himself and to Diane unless he knows whether ending the relationship would make a difference? If Peter’s going to come after him either way, then he doesn’t need to feel guilty. “I’ll find out,” Kalinda tells him. “Good.” He then checks out a file on Donny Pike. Should they be worried about him killing witnesses? Naw, claims Kalinda. It’s unlikely to be retribution against them for their part in his take down. Good to know.
Kalinda stops to answer her phone. “I need some access,” she barges right in, heading out of Will’s office. “Really,” drawls Dana Lodge. “You’ve been wanting a lot of access these days.” Dana’s walking through the courthouse, on Wendy Scott-Carr’s left hand; Cary walks on Wendy’s right. “Okay, well, I may need some access of my own, so I’ll call you right back.” Kalinda? Cary asks. “Yes. She said to say hi,” snarks Dana.
And then the three musketeers have an audience with Peter. “No,” he says simply.
“No?” Wendy can’t quite believe her ears. She’s seated, while Dana and Cary stand. “The budget’s too high.” “It isn’t,” Wendy counters softly. “Peter, we’ve been very careful in analyzing how much time this investigation will take, how much investigator time.” A fourth person, a young woman who might be Peter’s assistant, hands Peter some paperwork. “And how long will it take?” “One year,” Wendy replies calmly. The two stare at each other.
“It sounds like you’re losing your way,” he begins. YES! Yes it does! But she gently takes him to task. “Peter,” she lectures, “I’m here because you asked me to be here. You were worried that if you ran this investigation, you would be tempted to go lightly on your wife’s firm. I applaud that ethical foresight. Now, if I go easier on your wife’s firm, I won’t be fulfilling the task you’ve given me.” “Yes,” he says, “but your task is not to create a new task.” Quite so. “I’m looking into corruption at your wife’s firm,” she defends herself, as if that were the original mandate. Um, recession! Budget crisis! “You guys are just going to have to live within your means.” Huh. So he’s not shutting them down, then, just telling them to rethink their budget? Wendy rises. “You’ve been given the steering wheel,” Peter tells her like a strict father, “but I still put the gas in the car.”
“I need a freelance investigator who’s good and cheap,” Wendy muses as she strides out through the hall. They’re all tied up, Cary the passive aggressive obstructionist claims. “What about Andrew Wiley?” Dana wonders. Wendy pounces. Who? “A freelancer. His wife’s rich, so he doesn’t need the money. He’s a friend of yours, isn’t he, Cary?” Cary doesn’t like this idea at all; he’s pretty soured on Andrew these days. “He tends to go a bit free range, hard to control,” Cary downplays. “Kind of like me!” Wendy grins in delight. “I’m not editorializing, just describing,” Cary backpedals. And of course that wasn’t what he meant, even if it’s true. “Let’s meet your friend,” Wendy insists.
“Okay! Was it Cicero who said ‘Here I stand, a man!'” the arbitrator exclaims, extending his arms as if declaiming in a theater. He smiles expectantly at Martha, Alicia, Caitlin and the other woman. “Well. Here we sit! Ha ha ha.” The arbitrator is played by the ever fabulous John Michael Higgins (who despite his many wonderful roles will always be the self-proclaimed queen from Best in Show to me). The women stare at him, unmoved. “You’re all here because you’ve agreed to binding arbitration,” he continues. Behind him is a cavernous fireplace, flanked by two Art Deco lamps. “And that means the decision of the arbitrator – and yes, we do say arbitrator, not arbiter, for those of you taking notes at home,” he chuckles at his own witticism, and Martha smiles, “The decision of the arbitrator, and that would be myself, is final. Are we all agreed on that?” They are; Caitlin and Martha leap to their feet. “Yes, Mr. Arbitrator!”
He motions for them to sit down. “Goodness gracious, we don’t need to be so formal,” he demurs, although if he wanted to be informal, wouldn’t they be sitting around a table? Why is he physically mimicking a court – right down to the gavel? “Is it Shaw, George Bernard Shaw, that says that formality is um, there is, um, is not a good thing.” Heh. Higgins is so great. “Shall we call the first witness?”
“Pamela Raker. I’m a professor of English literature,” the uptight looking woman in brown introduces herself, seated in a large wooden chair. “Actually, I was a professor of English literature. Until I was fired in August.” And who fired you, Caitlin wonders. “Mr. Daniel Clove, the provost here.” Ah. That’s why it looks like a lecture hall. I wonder where it really is? “He told me he needed to downsize, but then he hired and promoted another English professor.” Oh dear. That’s not cool. “Why do you believe,” Caitlin begins, shining in electric blue. “Objection,” Martha hits the ground running, “calls for speculation.” Higgins is amused. “Well. First objection of the day. And I’m gonna sustain that.”
Caitlin’s shaken. ‘Well,” she pulls herself up, looking to Alicia rather desperately, “why were you fired?” Martha objects again for the same reason; Caitlin compresses her lips. “And there’s the second one. Also sustained.” This time she can’t even get out the sentence on her own. “Umm – let’s see – just one second,” she stalls before leaning over to ask Alicia for help. “Take it step by step. What happened first,” Alicia reminds her protege. Martha smirks. Caitlin looks petrified, reminding me of nothing so much as Cary on his first actual day in a courtroom. “Okay,” she whispers to herself, “what happened on the day before you were fired?”
“Mr. Clove made a physical advance toward me,” Dr. Raker explains. Oh. Yes, well, that’d get you in court all right. “I resisted, and the next day, I was fired.” Caitlin thanks her, clearing the way for Martha to cross examine. “Miss Raker, hello. I’m sorry, this sexual advance sounds terrible. What happened?” Yeah, why did Caitlin not ask that? Alicia looks nervous. “He reached for my shoulders, and I pushed him away.” Huh? “And where was this, in a bedroom somewhere?” No, the staff lounge. Martha has her arms crossed, a dark little figure of disapproval. Is it me, or have they dressed her up like Tuesday Addams here? “Lounge? Really, alone?” That would be a no. “So, did someone call the cops?” “No,” Raker sneers, “because they’re used to it from Mr. Clove.”
“Isn’t it true that what you describe is Mr. Clove trying to massage your shoulders?” Martha asks. Alicia looks sour. “Yes.” “And this is something that Mr. Clove does good narturedly to all professors?” Riiiight. I’d object to the “good naturedly” if I were a fictional lawyer like you, Caitlin. This does not look good. “That doesn’t make it right. It’s unwanted attention. I resisted, and the next day I was fired!” Well, okay, that’s a good point, too.
“This is much ado about nothing. I’m a tactile person,” I know, right? How pesky when your touchy feely-ness bumps up against an employee who doesn’t like to be touched! What a bummer. “If someone refuses and says no, I never do it again. I respect boundaries.” Provost Clove has a big, fluffy beard. He’s schlumpy and his gray suit isn’t pressed. You know, there’s something Hogwarts-y about this room. And wow, that’s one of the biggest oriental carpets I’ve ever seen. “You rub the shoulders of both men and women?,” Martha wonders. He sure does. “It’s a form of encouragement. It’s not sexual.” Ugh. This sort of thing is such a morass. How did he intend it? How did she take it? Who’s telling the truth? “And Miss Raker asked you to stop, you stopped?” Martha, why are you not calling her Dr. Raker? If she’s actually a professor, she’s Dr. Really annoying, you military priestess of doom. “Of course.” Or are they calling her Miss to highlight the fact that her title – professor – has been taken away? If that’s true, we should be calling her Professor to highlight the opposite. Anyway, he’s sorry to have offended.
“Hit him hard,” Alicia instructs Caitlin. “You stopped – and then you fired her?” Caitlin offers up. “No. I fired her because of negative student reviews. That had nothing to do with her refusing a shoulder squeeze. My God, I’m not an idiot.” Martha bursts out laughing. “But you told…” Caitlin’s totally distracted. “I mean…” They all turn to look at Martha, chortling to herself and writing on her legal pad. “Pamela says something different, doesn’t she?” Higgins has forgotten who Pamela is. “My client, Mr. Arbitrator?” Caitlin points out incredulously. “Oh! Yup, she sure is. Go ahead.” Martha giggles once more.
“Mr. Arbitrator,” Alicia says, unable to restrain herself, “would you ask the opposing counsel to refrain from her vocalizations.” Why, little old me? I’m shocked, shocked you would think so of me. “What am I doing?” Martha cries, all innocence. “You are making scoffing and chuckling sounds to intimidate my co-counsel.” Hee. Scoffing sounds, I love it. “Really?” Martha squeaks. “I would think that Mrs. Florrick’s interruptions would be more likely to disrupt her co-counsel than any sounds I make.” Caitlin just looks embarrassed by the whole thing. “Okay, ladies, we don’t want a cat fight here,” Higgins laughs, his hands up, “you can, uh, go ahead and answer the question.” Grrr. “What was the question?” Provost Clove asks.
“Why don’t we start again,” Caitlin stands and saunters around the table, a long stretch of blue, suddenly sexy and confident. “Why did you tell Pamela, my client, that you were downsizing the department, when in fact you hired someone to replace her the next day?” Oh please. You don’t have a job search in academia in day. Usually there are committees and paperwork and bureaucracy and debates. “I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Nobody likes to hear they’re getting negative reviews.” Raker starts staring and breathing fire. Seriously, the chick is a little scary. What’s with all the pulled back hair here – is it to make Caitlin look that much more loose and golden? “Did you hire someone who was happy to get your backrubs?” Martha stands with an objection again. “Argumentative.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Higgins scrunches his face up, considering. “Oh, well, yeah. Sustained.” Um, okay. Alicia hands Caitlin a sheet of paper. “Let me try again,” she begins, but this time with a game plan and more precise language. “When did you get these student evaluations?” she shrugs. “Which student evaluations?” Clove prevaricates, and is forced to admit that the evaluations were sent to him three days after the firing. Nice! The goth Ninotcha looks up in horror. “These are not the evaluations I was referring to,” Clove smoothly insists, attempting a Jedi mind trick. “They were verbal, from fellow teachers and students. They said that Miss Raker was disruptive, argumentative, not up to her job.” Again, wouldn’t he have to have had written statements from all these people? Well, if she was in a tenure track position, anyway, if she was an actual professor instead of an associate.
Anyway. Alicia wants to jump in here, but Caitlin gives her the hand. Politely. “And what were these arguments about? The arguments you referred to?” Alicia sits down. Clove isn’t sure; politics for one. “She’s very vocal about her… differences.” Which is to say, she’s a Republican. Ninotcha lunges forward. “Relevance!” she shouts, practically pointing at Caitlin. Hmm. It is belatedly occurring to me (perhaps it’s the pointing) that they’ve got them dressed and styled rather like Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the East and Glinda the Good Witch, don’t they? Which kind of matches the dynamic of the whole “Marthas and Caitlins” debate, since the musical Wicked turned our original impressions of the Wizard of Oz characters on their heads.
Alicia too rises to her feet, apparently not trusting Caitlin to make the proper response. “The relevance is that if Miss Raker was fired for her political views, there is no cap on the arbitration recovery.” How so, wonders Mr. Arbitrator. Caitlin steps in before Alicia can; impressive. “Sexual harassment is included in the automatic arbitration dispute resolution , but there is no cap for civil rights violations. And to fire someone for their politics is a civil rights violation.” Nicely done, Caitlin! The arbitrator is impressed. He turns a smug face to Martha, who rifles through her paperwork, her panic level visibly rising. “Anything?” Nothing but a request for a recess, so she might talk to her witness. “Take all the time you want,” he graciously concedes, banging his little gavel. “Good job,” nods Alicia. “Now this will get interesting.” The prospect of it makes her come alive. “I may need your help,” Martha quietly explains on her cell.” “I’ll be right there,” Louis Canning replies from his limo.
Leaning back in his chair, Eli stares up at the ceiling in the main Lockhart/Gardner conference room. (I should probably have a clever name for that by now, like the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise, but alas, I do not. Suggestions? Should I run a contest?) His self-appointed sponsor and only friend, Diane, arrives and wonders what he can possibly be doing, but he shushes her. “You have a small, hairline crack, right here.” He flourishes a finger and then points up. “I think there’s a hole in your air duct insulation. I hear a small hiss. I have perfect pitch, do you know that?” He nods to himself. I’m not really sure how perfect pitch has anything to do with the hiss (it’s about distinguishing between tones, right, not hearing them) but okay. We get it. He’s very, very lost. “My parents wanted me to be a concert pianist.”
“I did not know that,” Diane replies. “My parents wanted me to be a Senator.” He spins around in the swivelly captain’s chair and nods, looking at her gravely, his hands folded. “I can see that,” he concludes, and you know what, I can too. “So, what’re you doing in here, Eli?” Diane cuts to the chase. “Oh, I’m interviewing new clients, can’t you see?” He gestures to the empty seat next to him. “Now that I’m no longer the flavor of the month…” “What do you plan to do about that?” He leans his head back again; Diane sits. “I plan to study the ceiling.” She’s still wearing the tawny patterned blouse, which has ruffles and a frill that really do suggest a lion’s mane. She’s very regal. (Gosh, now I’m going to have to look for the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. Alicia has to be Dorothy. And Peter is Oz, the man pulling strings behind the curtain? Okay, I’m getting very silly with this.) “Do you notice all the lawyers out there, rushing around? Do you ever wonder why they’re so busy?” “Cause they got gumption?” he snarks.
Snort. So awesome.
“Because they’re not trying to go it alone,” Diane informs him coolly. “You’ve pissed off Will to the point where he doesn’t want to send you clients. David Lee is handling the divorce of a Congresswoman.” This gets his attention. ‘Who?” he’s dying to know, but she won’t tell. “Talk to him. I know you’re used to going it alone, Eli. That’s why you’re in here. Alone.” Well, and that’s literally why he’s ostensibly at Lockhart/Gardner, isn’t it? So he doesn’t have to go it alone? He doesn’t like it, but he gets it. “Make friends,” she instructs him. “Be nice to people. Don’t try to do it all yourself.” He glares up at her, because he knows she’s right.
It’s a nice transition from her lecture and his childish intransigence to Grace and Will’s school yard. “She tells us to check in, and then she’s not even there,” Grace huffs. “Just leave a message,” Zach suggests rationally. Yep. You know she doesn’t actually need to talk to you, she just wanted to hear from you. You could have just texted her, even. “She’s probably in court.” And indeed, when Grace calls back to leave the message, we see Alicia’s handbag buzzing. (See, that’s another thing. It’s not like her business suit has pockets for the phone.) Alicia’s out in the hall, which is a sort of balcony or mezzanine; Louis Canning lumbers up the stairs. They greet each other. “”I missed you,” he says. “And I you,” she replies coolly, arms folded. “How’re our children doing?” he wonders, looking into the great hall. “Playing nice,” Alicia answers. On the whole, I suppose. “So you didn’t like Martha?” he wonders. “I liked Martha,” Alicia replies, surprised. “If we hadn’t hired Caitlin, it would have been her.” “And Caitlin was what, just so irresistible?” Alicia gives Canning a narrowed sideways glance. Well, sideways and down. “You find that hard to believe?”
“Alicia,” Canning sighs, “Caitlin was hired because she’s David Lee’s niece. I know how things work. I know how the game is played.” Well, why’d you annoy her by asking about it, then? “Martha’s a better hire, but like everything else at your firm, it’s about who you know, not what you do.” Oh, nice shot, Louis. If nothing else, you’ve certainly succeeded in annoying her. “Unlike your grand meritocracy,” she sneers. But he has an answer for that. “Do I look like someone who judges books by covers?” Touche, Louis Canning, touche. Except you’re definitely judging Caitlin by her cover. “No, Caitlin’s the package, but Martha’s the real deal.” Um, what I said before. “Let’s go inside and see who’s better,” Alicia challenges him. “Just so you know, there’s a job for you at my firm,” he offers. “Good to know,” she growls, and they head back into arbitration.
Mr. Clove is attempting to refine his earlier statements. “I didn’t say that I laid off Miss Raker because her politics were different than mine.” “Her politics were irrelevant to your decision,” Martha clarifies from the bench, Canning now beside her. Absolutely. “I run a tolerant workplace,” Clove claims. “In fact, she made everything political, intolerant. She argued with everyone.” And? “And that is not a civil rights issue?” “Not in my opinion, no,” Clove answers. I think you could have objected here, Caitlin, but okay. “If a person is making it difficult for other people to work, it is within my purview…” You know, that’s really hard to separate out from someone having “offensive” political views, especially without specifics, isn’t it? If someone constantly states their political views at the office, is it a problem if those views belong to the majority of coworkers?
Leaning across the table, Alicia whispers that Caitlin should ask for specifics, the more the better, and Caitlin nods. “So, Mr. Clove, I’m confused. Did you fire our client because of the first reason, downsizing, or the second reason, the student evaluations that you didn’t read, or the third reason, disrupting the workplace?” Alicia tilts her head smugly at Canning. Cute! “Maybe you do things for one reason, Miss; I tend to do things for many.” Well, except that your first two reasons were prevarications if not outright lies. “Which reason was it,” she insists. “The evaluations from students and teachers, and the one I mentioned, she was disruptive in the workplace. Because she spoke about politics? What kind of politics?” Caitlin asks. “The Tea Party line. Anti-choice, things like that.” Well, that’s not the way to win friends in most universities, certainly. You know, though, I’m sure you could make the same complaint of their arguments about Raker’s firing; first they assumed sexual harassment, now it’s a civil rights violation.
Then again, that’s what can happen when you fire someone for an obviously fake reason.
Caitlin gets into the specifics. “She spoke about abortion. She spoke against abortion?” Yes, the Provost explains. “She was reacting to something she’d seen on CNN about Roe v. Wade, that it’s a genocide.” This would hardly be a new idea to a pro-lifer. “She just went off.” “The other teachers disagreed with her?” wonders Caitlin, but after whispers from Canning, Martha objects. “Calls for speculation,” she says. “I’m gonna sustain that!’ the arbitrator agrees.
“Did the other teachers complain against her?” Why aren’t you calling them professors, Caitlin? “Yes, but not because they disagreed with her, but because she was disruptive.” Well, Mr. Provost, but what does that mean? While the point must be that they object to the way she makes her case, or how often, it’s hard to see how it could have been disruptive if she agreed with them. “So there were professors who agreed with her that abortion was genocide?” Thank you! “I didn’t ask. I make it a point not to ask. My workplace is politically neutral.” Clove cranes his neck to look at the arbitrator. “I don’t tolerate politics in the workplace.” Oh, so very righteous, aren’t we?
Alicia sneaks off, looking very cagey. As Caitlin attempts to elicit more specifics (without success, so far as we hear), Alicia leaves the room, and Canning follows. She stops at the top of the stairs and stabs him with her eyes. “Oh. Would you like me to slow down?” she asks with exaggerated politeness. “Well, that would be the sporting thing to do,” he agrees. Hmmm, she says, and skips down the stairs as fast as her working nervous system can take her.
And once she’s downstairs, she takes cell phone pictures of a bulletin board covered with political flyers. Occupy Wallstreet, one urges. “That’s okay,” Alicia calls over her shoulder to a cop or court bailiff (really? ) . “That’s okay, you can tell Mr. Canning I’m done,” she grins.
That little girl in the baby swing – the one with long brown ringlets – doesn’t look a blessed thing like what I remember of Andrew Wiley’s older daughter. But ah well. “You don’t want me,” Wiley demurs, hand on his daughter’s back. “Hey, duty calls, buddy” Cary shakes his head. Frankly, that’s a ridiculous bit of sophistry. His duty to filet an innocent man? I guess Cary has to say something. I wish to God he’d stood up to this more strongly, though. Wendy and Dana look on.
At Lockhart/Gardner, Eli clips through the hall, pursing his lips and looking self-conscious. He attempts to retake the conference room, but there’s a negotiation going on (requiring binding arbitration, funnily enough) so he’s forced to leave. Next he peeks into Will’s office, where Will’s yelling into his cell phone and gesticulating emphatically.
Speaking of sophistry, Clove’s now redefining what politically neutral means while leafing through print outs of Alicia’s flyer photos, including one with a Democratic donkey and another with rainbow stripes. “I didn’t say I forbid individual teacher activism.” Huh? I’m not sure what he thinks is a distinction there. Again, Caitlin implies that the problem is Pamela Raker’s particular political beliefs, and Clove insists it’s her aggressive expression of them. “But if she didn’t support these beliefs, she wouldn’t be disruptive?” He can’t answer that. “None of us can answer that,” Canning rises to add. “Mr. Arbitrator, this is a about facts. And the fact is, it’s within Mr. Provost’s purview to fire Miss Raker for causing a disruption in the workplace.”
Alicia rises in turn. ‘And if the disruption was merely because Miss Raker was a Republican?” If the question was the disruption, there’s no civil rights violation, Canning insists. His royal highness the Arbitrator tells them to calm down. “Goodness gracious. The handlers have taken over.”
“Mr. Arbitrator, we ask that this complaint be dismissed,” Canning shoots for the moon. “And we ask the arbitrator’s indulgence; we have further civil rights arguments, but we won’t be able to present them till tomorrow.” “Mr. Arbitrator, at a certain point this arbitration must conclude,” Canning notes, unfortunately failing to even present an argument as to why that time should be now. The arbitrator (I loathe not knowing his name, it’s driving me nuts) thanks them. “Well observed,” he nods to Canning, “Well argued, well played,” he nods to our team, tapping his papers into a neat pile, “and, well, uh, see ya tomorrow.” Heh.
Canning starts to approach the judge’s bench. “Wait a minute, hold on. I am not going to shortchange justice, Mr. Canning. That’s not going to happen.” He nods, giving them all significant looks. “Not here. It means we’ll be here all week if we have to be.” Woof! I bet that’s not what Alicia had in mind. “So. Adjournment! ” Down goes the gavel.
Hands in his pockets like a school boy, Canning walks toward his opposing counsel. “Very smart,” he laughs to Alicia. “Arbitrators get paid by the hour.” Oh, that’s a little icky. “They love their recesses and tangents. What’s next, the inalienable rights of life and liberty?” Alicia’s uncowed. “Good idea,” she smiles. “You know, your problem is damages. All this effort and she’s only entitled to a paycheck or two?” What’s his angle there? Also, $35,000 is hardly a paycheck or two for an English professor (especially one low enough in the department hierarchy to be fired at a moment’s notice). Caitlin bites; she’s immediately on her cell phone. “Hey, do you have a minute? The problem we have is damages.” Would you ever take Canning at face value in court? I sure wouldn’t. Is he leading them down some sort of rabbit hole so he can trap them there? Caitlin nods fervently.
Somebody scores a basket. Wow, we haven’t seen Will’s basketball game in ages. I’ve been wondering when it would show up, especially now that it’s at the focus of so much drama! The ball goes off the court, where it’s caught by a second dark haired little girl; the one with the curls is sitting on the bleachers. No way either of them is the baby from last spring, though for whatever reason, we rarely saw both Wiley daughters together. Andrew Wiley directs her to hand the ball over to Will. “You’re, ah, Will Gardner, right?” Andrew begins innocently enough. He is. “Can anybody join the game?” Wiley asks, hands in his pockets. He’s got on a turtleneck sweater with thick black and brown stripes under the bomber jacket we saw him wear all last season. Nope, it’s just old friends, Will says regretfully. “Lawyers, judges, weekend warriors, you know. Nice to meet you.” Will turns to walk away. “I’m not a lawyer,” Wiley begins quietly, “but I am a freelance investigator for Wendy Scott-Carr, does that help?” Frozen in place, Will’s at once angry and wary. He turns, then tosses the ball to his friends.
Will and Andrew pace together toward the bleachers. “You guys have the wrong idea about this.” “Really?” Andrew replies. Clearly he has his teeth in this already; Will’s already guilty in his mind. “What’s the right idea?” “The right idea is that friends are playing ball. This is not about work, this is about what happens after work.” Wiley nods. “Oh, yeah, that makes sense. Lawyers, judges, friends…” His tone belies the meaning of his words. “There’s nothing illegal in socializing,” Will shrugs. “You’re right,” Wiley says, getting right into Will’s sweaty face. “You see, I’ve been looking into Lockhart/Gardner cases for the last three years.” Oh, interesting that he just happened to pick the amount of time Alicia’s been there, huh? “Kind of amazing, really.” Why’s that? “How many you win,” he replies.
“We’re good,” Will says simply, his arms crossed and his face stormy. “Yeah, yeah, apparently. You’ve got like an 80% win rate.” Wow, that is good. Both men watch one of the young girls – is she riding a tricycle, or just running in circles really smoothly? “Angela, you’re going to get really dizzy. Many in front of some very friendly judges.”
Will glares down at the investigator. “You have a problem with any individual case, show me,” he shrugs, “and I’ll show you how we won.” It is a tricycle. Who brings a tricycle with them through a city, in a building with elevators, especially when they’re also pushing a stroller? Also, boy is that the wrong thing to promise to Andrew Wiley. Now he will demand your time for every damn case. “Deal,” says the devil. “Sabrina, no more apple juice! I have to go, but I will. I’ll bring you some odd wins, and we’ll discuss.” Sure, Will shrugs, “anything for you guys in the State’s Attorney’s Office.” He slaps Wiley on the back.
And because Will’s time of personal trial isn’t over, the fellow knocking on his office door now is Eli. Will had called out “yeah?” at the knock, but Eli coughs. (Apparently he needs to be asked over the threshold; I thought he looked pale.) Will looks up in exaggerated surprise. “Eli? To what do I owe this honor?” Ha. Just making the rounds, Eli says. “What rounds?” wonders Will. “Seeing where people work, what they do,” Eli answers, pointing around the office with his chin, “being…” He pauses to force a smile over his features; it doesn’t fit well. “… friendly.” Eeek. “Well,” says Will, “sit down.” When Eli does, Will offers him some scotch, which Eli – fresh from his bender – quickly declines. They smile at each other for a moment, Eli awkward, Will smug. “So. You want me to share the wealth,” Will states the obvious. Eli pretends not to understand. “My clients who would benefit you,” Will rolls his hands, explaining his already plain statement. “Who I could introduce to you. If I were so inclined.” Humble pie tastes pretty nasty, if the look on Eli’s face is an indication. “And how do I so incline you?” Hee! Great phrasing. “I don’t know,” Will smiles. “I’m a mystery.”
After flashing another fake, tight smile, Eli nods. “Okay, I’ll have some scotch.”
It’s a new day in arbitration; Alicia, dressed in a camel colored suit, explains to a seated Caitlin that their damages strategy revolves around Raker’s inability to find another job. That’s when Kalinda arrives. “Can I help you?” Alicia asks, icy. Really, they still haven’t learned to talk to each other? Last season they did it without being so rude. Kalinda motions silently toward Caitlin, then shows the younger woman a file. “It’s not the original email, but it’s quoted here and here,” she says. Caitlin’s ecstatic; she turns her shining face, framed by a Christmas plaid suit jacket, up at Alicia. “Kalinda, thanks. Alicia, it’s damages.” I didn’t know Kalinda was on this, Alicia says dangerously. “Oh, I asked her to,” Caitlin replies, the picture of ignorant bliss. “I called her yesterday.” “If you need anything else, just give me a call,” Kalinda tells Little Miss Sunshine, and with a brief nod to Alicia’s, she’s gone. Alicia looks down, annoyed.
“‘She’s nice. I just have a real problem with homophobes.’ Did you write that?” Caitlin recites the quote and holds a print out of the email in front of Clove’s face. “That is a private email to one other person,” he evades answering, annoyed. Hmm. Caitlin’s sweet, Christmas plaid suit has some edge to it – a shiny black leather belt and elbow patches. Interesting. “A private email,” Caitlin twists the knife, “to another provost at another school.” “She asked my opinion of Miss Raker,” Cloves shrugs. “Your defamatory comment was discovered on a website for college administrators, and that is why our client had difficulty finding a job,” Caitlin argues.
Canning stands. “Excuse me. I’d love to share Caitlin’s sense of outrage here,” he shrugs, lumbering across the room, “but Mr Clove’s comments were written in a private email, and were not intended for wide distribution.” Hmm. Interesting. Does that matter in the electronic age? Canning takes the copy of the email with him, back to his table. “Yes,” Alicia (who’s got a brown leather belt on over her suit; gorgeous!) stands, “but it doesn’t matter what he intended. He wrote an email which was widely distributed by the recipient. Legally he is as responsible as if he had distributed it himself.” The arbitrator smirks at Canning. Does he have thoughts on the subject? Martha stands, asking to handle it, but Canning puts a restraining hand on her arm.
“Mr. Clove, what did Miss Raker say to you to solicit your off-hand comment that she was a homophobe?” Ah, here we go. “She said that gay people could be cured. And when I asked her why would they want to be, she said because what they did was disgusting.” Oh, dear. Caitlin and Alicia slowly turn in on their client. “That’s not the exact wording, but I think it’s a good paraphrase.” Canning waves the email again. “Mr. Arbitrator, not only is this not defamatory, Miss Raker’s comments are hate speech, pure and simple. Not only was Mr. Clove right to warn others about this hate speech, he was right to fire her.” Alicia takes notes. Did Canning set this up so he could make this very argument? “I think some very good points are being made,” the arbitrator nods, “and I think the best thing to do would be to adjourn.” Of course you do! Canning does a double take; Michael J. Fox has serious mugging skills. Oh, come on, Canning, you know he’s trying to draw out his paycheck.
“The other professors were making fun of Rick Santorum for saying that homosexual acts were like beastiality,” an agitated Raker explains to her team as they leave the courtroom. (As well they might! What a thing to say!) “I was defending him, that’s all, I said his logic made sense to me.” Oh, that’s all, is it? Yes, that was perfectly nice. Who could blame you for calling gay people beasts? “You’re a Christian, right?” Alicia remembers. She is. Course what Alicia really means is, she’s a fundamentalist. “We need to get you back on the stand tomorrow,” Alicia says decisively.
“I got you the cheese account!” Eli protests. “You lost us the cheese account,” Will corrects, handing him a drink. Relax, boys, you’re both right. “No, we all did that,” Eli points out angrily, “the point is, I made the effort, I didn’t have to.” Will sits and turns his face from this foolishness, scrunching up his features. “That’s your problem – you think of it as a favor. This is what we do, we share.” “I’m sharing! I’m here, sharing!” Eli howls. Dude, you really need to learn to talk like a grown up. “You came in here, throwing your weight around, not coming to staff meetings,” Will doesn’t give an inch. “You want me to come to staff meetings?” Eli says with surprise and a bit of disdain. “I don’t want anything,” Will says, “I’m explaining why you’re not getting anything.” Finally, it sinks in. Almost against his will, Eli nods. “Okay, I will… be more involved. There. Next!” He starts to sip the scotch.
As luck would have it, there is something else. “Why is Peter investigating me?”
That stops the sipping but quick. Eli stares. “I didn’t know he was.” “He is,” Will nods, his eyebrows furrowed. “You’re still his political strategist, right?” Right. “For politics, or something else?” Eli has no idea. “Have you asked Alicia? I mean, because she works here, she might know.” “I haven’t told her,” Will says, “I didn’t want to make it her business.” “But it is her business,” Eli replies quickly, making me want to hug him. “Isn’t it?” Of course it’s her business! You can’t protect her with ignorance, Will! She’s not a child! No matter how afraid you are of spooking her, it’s her right to know, and I love Eli for understanding this. Will taps his fingers on his highball glass. “What’s he investigating?” You know, it’d be helpful if Eli knew that it started out as one thing and ended up as something completely different. “Corruption.” He continues the nervous tapping. “There’s nothing there. But if he’s investigating me, it hurts the firm.” Eli considers this. “Hurts you. That’s what sharing’s all about.” Right. This was an opportune time for Eli to come to you for help, Will. “Being a part of the firm, knowing that if I’m hurt, you’re hurt.” Eli nods in understanding. He’ll see what he can find out. “Thanks,” Will says, raising his glass in a salute. They drink.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for that scene between Eli and Peter.
Grace reads from the Old Testament: “if a man lies with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination. Let them be put to death.” Warmed by her fuzzy blue bathrobe Grace looks up from the page uncertainly. “So, what’s that?” Alicia wonders. “Leviticus, Chapter 20.” Verse 13, for those reading a long at home. Intriguing that Grace could find that without a concordance, isn’t it? Grace hands over the leather bound book. “What’s this for, a case?” “Yes,” says Alicia, leafing through it, “wrongful termination.” Alicia looks up from the pages in horror. “Do you believe this, Grace?” Grace shakes her head in confusion. “I don’t know. Some of the Bible I get, some I don’t.”
“What about your Uncle Owen? He’s gay,” Alicia can’t help asking. “I know. That’s the part I don’t get,” admits Grace. That’s the only part? “I guess I thought… with your dancing and everything, you’d moved on.” Oh, boy. You’re lucky you still have such a great relationship with Grace, and that she still seeks your approval. I think the average teen would have exploded into a fury here, when a parent made light of their passions. “No. I can do both.” Looks like Clove isn’t the only multi-tasker around these days.
“I’m sorry I missed your call yesterday,” Alicia says gravely. “That’s okay. Zach’s a pretty good driver, you don’t have to worry.” Right. Like she’s not going to worry. You know she’s your mom, right? “I’m not. Or I am, but not about that.” Grace gives her mom a puppy dog look, full of sympathy, and joins her on the window seat. I adore watching them together. They really do have a lovely relationship, despite not always understanding each other. “What then?” “Oh, I don’t know,” Alicia says, still caught up in that terrible dream, “Nothing. I just have to shake it off.” They’re quiet for a moment. “Is it about Will?” Gingerly, she turns to look at her mother. “Zach says he met him in the office.” This convinces me that those of you who thought Zach guessed about Will and Alicia – after her long ago confession of attraction, and her sudden happiness, and Will’s total weirdness when he met Zach – were right on target. Alicia tilts her head to look at the question. “No,” she says clearly, quietly. “It’s not about Will. I….” Alicia stops, and when she begins again, her voice thickens with tears. “Grace, I’m sorry it’s been such a tough year.”
“Are you good?” Grace nods. “Yeah, I just want to make sure you are.” Aw! “I am!” Alicia smiles and nods, tears in her eyes. “I am, there’re just too many distractions right now, that’s all.” Oh, please. If you want a life without distraction, become a hermit, or join a monastery. Don’t have kids. Or a job. “Get rid of them,” Grace shrugs, giving an experimental smile. “Okay,” says Alicia, holding her daughter’s chin in her hand, “I will.” Will Gardner, you are such a goner.
“So you know him?” Dana Lodge stirs her drink. “Do I know the investigator Wiley?” Kalinda answers, seated across from Dana in a booth. Does she know him… “Yeah. I’ve met him.” Dana searches Kalinda’s face. “Do you think he’s good?” Sunlight slants through the blinds beside them; Kalinda’s in light, Dana shadow. “Are you really asking me for references on a detective investigating my firm?” Yeah she is. “Is that inappropriate?” They smiles at each other. “Wiley thinks you buy your wins.” Wendy Scott-Carr thought that, and now Wiley’s on it, you mean. Which really is hugely insulting, because Kalinda is responsible for most of their wins. “Really?” Kalinda replies, and drinks. She’s not going to go there. “Well, what else do you need?” Dana looks down for a moment.
“You haven’t slept with Cary, have you?”
“You talk a lot about sex,” Kalinda replies by way of a non-answer. “I find it interesting, don’t you?” Dana stirs. “Cary talks about you during sex,” she volunteers. Well, you talk to Cary about Kalinda during sex; is that the same thing? “Really?” asks Kalinda. “Really,” confirms Dana. “Wanna know what he says?” Damn, this girl is ballsy. Where the hell is she going with this? “I think you want me to know what he says, ” Kalinda answers quietly. “I could go either way,” Dana purrs. “Yeah you could,” Kalinda makes the obvious reply. “You flirt with everyone.” “It’s a personal failing, we seem to share that.” Dana’s locked her eyes onto Kalinda’s. “No we don’t. When I flirt, I follow through.” Kalinda drinks, a smug Mona Lisa smile on her lips. Dana looks taken aback. It’s not entirely true, however.
In the great hall, Alicia reads from Leviticus, 20:13. Pamela Raker’s on the stand. “Do you believe that?” she asks. “I do,” Raker agrees. “But even if you didn’t want to believe that, you would have to believe that,” Alicia leads her witness. “I’m a member of the Christian Reform Church of North America,” Pamela says, turning toward the arbitrator. “We believe the Bible is the authoritative word of God.” Higgins raises a sardonic eyebrow. “So the speech Mr. Clove was not hate speech, it was religiously based speech.” Ugh. Is that what those loonies who protest at military funerals hide behind? “In fact, I’m appalled that Mr. Clove called me homophobic behind my back.” Now that I don’t get. “If he asked, I would explain my Biblical justification.” Yes, but would that make it any less homophobic or offensive? Alicia thanks her.
“Unfortunately, Mrs. Florrick didn’t read far enough,” Mr. Canning begins. Always one step ahead, aren’t you, Louis? “What’s the next line in Leviticus? ‘And those men who lie with men as they lieth with women – the instruction is to kill them.” Yep, there it is. Pamela swallows. “That was an instruction promulgated by Moses for the Levites,” nods Raker. “But that doesn’t apply today. Because otherwise, you should be out killing gay people,” he gestures widely. “Right?” Now she’s angry. “To say that Jesus’s love tempered the need for punishment doesn’t change what is right and wrong.” She clasps her hands tightly, her whole body tight and stiff.
“Is Mr. Canning really trying to determine what is religiously based speech and what is not?” Alicia asks. Um, of course he would do that, though I’m not entirely sure that’s what he’s doing. Sounds to me like he’s arguing that it’s hate speech either way. Today Alicia’s got a plunging draped silver blouse under her suit. So pretty. “The point is, Mr. Clove defamed our client as homophobic, when clearly he knew it was religiously based speech!” Canning’s not willing to concede that point. “Yes, Mr. Canning, I think that’s right,” Higgins squints, “I don’t really think I’m here to sever any Gordian knots.” Of course you are, you idiot! You’re an arbitrator. You’re the knot-severer in chief!
“The question is not, what is religious, the question is did Mr. Clove know Pamela was religious.” Doesn’t it sound like that could be inferred from her type of objections? Pro-life, anti-gay; that typically points to a particular sort of Christian social conservatism. Raker pouts down at her lap. “And with that question, I think we should take a short break.” Here we go again! Canning makes his exasperation plain.
Out on the mezzanine, Alicia swings over to Canning. “The arbitrator sounds sympathetic toward us, doesn’t he?” Right now he does, anyway. “Alright,” says Canning. “What?” Alicia wonders, expecting more. “Let’s make a deal,” Canning shrugs, heading for the stairs. Alicia rushes after him, amazed at her good fortune.
In a sleek, stuffy dining room, Alicia demands money. Money for poor bigoted Pamela Raker, who now can’t find a job. I bet I can think of a few Bible colleges that would hire her and even consider her a martyr just for this reason. “You’re coming to my firm, Alicia,” Canning interrupts their negotiation. Alicia swirls the wine in her glass and smiles. “I am? When?” “Eventually,” Canning says, setting down his own glass of red. “Diane Lockhart and Will Gardner don’t have children, I do.” “And that matters why?” Alicia wonders with a tip of her head. “They like their employees to work long hours because their work is their home. My home is my home,” he declares, hand splayed over his heart. “I love my home. I like my kids.” Shouldn’t that be reversed? “If you wanna spend more time with your kids, you’ll come to my firm. You can work at home, you can telecommute.” She’s struck by this, you can see it, even though obviously she’s not going to leave her job.
“I don’t like your clientele, Mr. Canning,” she says quietly as the elegant white lunch plates are served. “That’s right. My mean, corporate clients – thank you,” he says, aiming the last bit at the waiter. Looks like Alicia’s having salmon – or is that a pinkish tomato? “The one percent. Like Mr. Rameedi. He used to be worth two billion until he gave half to African Aids research. Or Miss Lonnie Jane Klout. Started her own company. Takes trips to Bolivia to develop micro-financing in third world countries. Course they’re not Donny Pike…” “We don’t represent Donny Pike,” she rolls her eyes. He knows. “Oh, that’s right, you represent Colin Sweeney.” He stuffs his mouth full of salad, as if there were nothing more to say. And there isn’t, really. “Your phone’s blinking,” he points, mouth still full. She picks up, and it’s Grace’s number, but it’s only static. Alicia hangs up and looks at her phone.
“You have twelve new missed calls,” it tells her, and when she looks, they’re all from Grace, just minutes apart. 3:29, 3:31, 3:34, 3:36, etc. Why on earth would Grace be calling so persistently? What could be wrong? She stares at the phone in dawning horror. Then she dials Grace back, but only get her voice mail. Canning can stand it no longer: what’s wrong? She ignores him, listens to her voice mails. The first begins with a door – a car door – slamming shut. We hear what sounds like muffled cries, and then the car drives away. Maybe it’s the fact that he just mentioned Donny Pike, but Alicia’s terrified, jumping to instant conclusions. “Everything all right?” Canning wonders again. Again she ignores him, turning in her chair and dialing her phone.
“Zach, hi, um,” she clears her throat, “is Grace with you?” No, says Zach as he works on Alicia’s laptop (which you’d think she’d have with her), why? Alicia explains about the missed phone calls. “Where is she?” “At school, I think,” he answers, which is not going to make Mom feel better. He thinks? “I thought she was going with you,” she says, and I’m so impressed that she’s not freaking out at him. “She was, it’s just, I had to stop off at your office to work on your computer.” She’s exasperated. Did he tell Grace that? Yes. “Why, Mom, what’s wrong?” Alicia lets her panic peep through. “She tried calling 12 times, and I didn’t hear it, it just…” She’s at a loss for words. Zach’s guess is that she took the L home; Alicia’ll call there. “Mom, she’s fine. She probably just butt-dialed you.” I love this show. How many dramas talk about such random, mundane and wacky parts of life as butt-dialing? As Alicia hangs up, we see that Kalinda’s heard a bit of Zach’s end of the conversation.
So next, Alicia tries home. And gets voicemail.
“I have to go,” Alicia cries, gathering her things. “Where you going?” he wonders. “No, I’ll just get a cab,” she demurs. “No, I have a driver, I’ll take you.” No, no, she says – and really, who wants a mostly enemy hanging around at a time like this? Certainly not Mrs. Privacy. “Mrs. Florrick, listen to me. I have a driver. I’ll take you.”
And he does. Over the phone, she tells Zach that their destination is the school. “Zach, tell me the truth. Is there anyone she sees?” Back in the office, Kalinda’s now working at a computer within listening distance of Alicia’s office. “Mom, you’re getting worried. What’s going on?” He’s silent for a moment, and Kalinda, in her zippiest black jacket, waits in the doorway when Zach starts talking again. “No, no one. Okay, I’ll wait here. You don’t want me to – all right. Got it.” He hangs up. “My mom’s freaking out,” Zach tells Kalinda. Superwoman knows what to do. “What’s your sister’s cell phone number?”
“Yeah, Grace and I usually hang out after school. Right here.” They hang out after school – outside the school at the pickup area? Shannon, that’s just odd. Doesn’t it get cold in Chicago? Perhaps I’ve been misinformed about their climate. “So, you didn’t see her?” Alicia wonders. Canning listens in. And yes, Shannon did see Grace. “Shannon, where?” Finally, the penny drops/ “Is Grace in trouble, Mrs. Florrick?” she asks. “Shannon, I’m worried for my daughter, and I need to find her. So if you did see her, you need to help find her.”
“I saw her get into a car with a man,” Shannon admits reluctantly, cringing because she knows it’s not good. Canning’s eyes close, and Alicia gasps. “I’m sorry, I thought he was supposed to pick her up, I would have said something.” Alicia can’t even look at Shannon, so Canning asks the next question. “What did he look like?” She doesn’t know. “Was he tall?” Yeah, sort of. Taller than Grace when he walked her to her car. “Did they seem to know each other?” She doesn’t know.
Walking away from the others, Alicia dials her cell. “Peter, did you pick up Grace?” I think Shannon would have known who Peter was, don’t you? No, of course he didn’t. “Why? What’s the matter?” Alicia leans on Canning’s car, unable to support herself, visions of Donny Pike dancing in her head. “Peter, I can’t get hold of her.” She inhales a loud, ragged breath, then steadies herself. “Um, I tried her cell…. she called me 12 times.” Peter wonders where she is, and she says. “Her friend said she saw her get into a car with a man,” Alicia squeaks, and Peter’s eyes bulge. He surges to his feet. “Hold on,” he tells his wife, then presses the phone to his chest. “Cary!” he barks; his number two’s part of some sort of meeting at a table in the far end of Peter’s capacious office. “Get me Chief McCarthy in the next room right away. He’s in a budget meeting.” Cary goes.
“Peter, you know we’ve been involved with the Donny Pike case,” Alicia quavers. She’s rarely seemed so emotional. “I know,” he says, his voice steady, “it’s not that.” “How do you know that,” she cries, “how do you know?” “Alicia,” he replies, his voice calming, “there’s no reason for him to go there. Now take a breath.” She nods, pulling herself together. “Is Grace’s friend right next to you?” Alicia makes a mewling noise of agreement. “Let me speak to her.” Walking back, Alicia extends her arm, and hands over the phone. “Shannon, it’s my husband, can you..” How funny to think of Shannon, whose father Peter sent to jail, in this strange position. Not that Shannon has ever held that grudge. “Oh, please don’t let it happen,” Alicia begs to providence or whatever force might be there, “don’t let it happen.” And Canning – in a nice reflection back to the case – reaches up to rub her shoulders.
“What is that?” Zach asks of the blinking light on a computer street map. “Does your sister know anyone in Englewood?” Kalinda asks. “The Southside? No.” “So she’d have no reason to go there?” Oh dear. “Is that where her cell phone is?” Zach wonders. Gosh, how cool would it be to have Kalinda teach Zach some of her investigating tricks? Awesome. “Her cell phone is dead. That was it’s last known location.” Well, that figures. Kalinda leans in and asks quietly, “Look, does your sister do drugs?” No. Gently, she presses the importance of the subject. “If you know something, you need to tell me.” He doesn’t, he honestly doesn’t. “I’m not. She doesn’t do drugs.” Okay, she says, grabbing the lap top, and speeds off.
She bumps into Will in the hallway. “Kalinda, do you have a minute?” Not only does she tell her boss no, she gives him the hand. Wow. Will stares at her retreating back, and then notices Zach slumped over in his mother’s office. Not good.
Will’s next move is to call Alicia, whose driving around in Canning’s car. She’s less than thrilled to get the call. “What’s wrong,” Canning asks again. You know, for a cutthroat corporate stooge he’s been pretty nice. “I told her to leave a note at our apartment. Can your driver take me there?” He most certainly can! You know, I hadn’t noticed before, but Canning’s soft camel jacket, blue and yellow striped tie, and navy sweater make him look like a professor or an English school boy. Clever.
Shrugging on his own suit jacket, Peter Florrick explains that he knows it’s the police’s policy to wait 24 hours before declaring a missing person. “That’s not happening here. This is my daughter. You’re going to have to start right now.” Cary stands by several uniformed men. “Her friend is waiting at school. I need you to get a sketch artist there right now.” As Peter leaves his office, we can see that the several men turn into two columns of uniformed officers, men and women both. Peter strides between them, his face determined. “Can’t talk,” he waves off Wendy Scott-Carr, who’s left to look piqued in pale pink.
(With, in case you were wondering, a belt. This week is all about women’s suits with belts.)
Shannon stammers out her lack of knowledge back at the school yard. But it’s not the sketch artist whose questions she can’t answer, it’s Kalinda. “Now, alright, pause for a second. Take a deep breath. You alright?” The girl nods. “What did Grace and you talk about? Ever talk about any guys?” Shannon looks pale, a green scarf knotted at her throat. “No, ah, no one,” Shannon shakes her head. “No one she wants to see, no one she even mentions once?” Again, Shannon shakes her head. “No, she’s not interested in any of that.” Kalinda notices police cars arriving, and probably realizes her window is contracting. “Alright, and did she talk to anyone online?” Shannon looks panicked, her eyebrows puckering up. She opens her mouth, unsure of what to say, and Kalinda realizes she’s on to something.
Alicia bursts through her apartment door, tossing her bags to the floor. When she sees the refrigerator, her face collapses. She turns to support herself on the kitchen island, her breath coming in deep shuddering gasps. Canning leans against the wall, at a loss.
As you might suspect, the last thing Kalinda is is at a loss. She’s following the cell phone signal on her laptop, in her car, driving through the city to an area of old brick buildings with boarded up windows.
Alicia looks at a picture of her and Grace; we can tell from the posters that it’s Grace’s room. She hears a key in the lock, and rushes out. Is it Grace? No. She stops, frozen with hope and fear, to see Peter standing in the threshold. He shakes his head. “She’s not at my place,” he says. Alicia stands, ringing her hands, her lip quivering, ready to break down. “I thought she might be here.” Alicia shakes her head. Peter tilts his head in sympathy and walks to his wife, who by this time is crying into her hand. He wraps his arms around her, strong hands on her back. In her distress, she clings to him. “Hold on. Hold on. It’s only been a few hours. It’s probably nothing.” His words are reassuring, but the face over her shoulder is grim and worried.
“No Parking” reads graffiti on a fence; Kalinda, of course, parks in front of it anyway. The street’s full of abandoned buildings, boarded up. To a ticking soundtrack, she looks out the window at a stone church steeple. When she pulls up at the church, the area looks much nicer, with grass and bushes and a park. She runs up the steps into St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church. Inside, there are folding chairs – odd for a building like this. Grace is laid out by the altar. “I baptize you in the name of the Father… the Son…” proclaims the melodious voice of Jimmy Patrick, Grace’s online Christian guru, here in the flesh, pouring water over Grace’s head. She’s wearing an appropriate white garment (er, shirt), to symbolize her new life in Christ. The commercial comes before we can hear Jimmy say Spirit.
But can I say, phew! Yay to finding her and intriguing where she was. I was genuinely not expecting Grace to ever meet Jimmy. It didn’t even occur to me she was in contact with him – we’ve always seen him through the lens of his “sermons” – though it’s reasonable and easy enough.
It’s been too long since we had a nice, satisfying look at the Florrick front door. There it is. So much pretty molding.
And inside – as there always is when we get that long look at the door – there’s misery. Alicia sits on her bed, practicing breathing. She catches sight of a black negligee pooled on a tufted toille ottoman. She picks the offending garment up, turning the lace and silk in her hands, only to throw it in her trash in a rage.
Because having sex created this situation? Um, other than giving rise to Grace’s birth in the first place, I can’t see how. I guess we’re not all rational in a crisis, though.
Grace and Kalinda ride the apartment building elevator up together. “She angry?” Grace worries. “I don’t know,” Kalinda shrugs. “I was only gone an hour,” Grace pleads, her face fearful as it so often is. “And I didn’t call her twelve times. The phone was in my back pocket. I butt-called her.” Kalinda can’t absolve you of the guilt, honey. The elevator bell dings, and Grace steps off, but turns in surprise when Kalinda doesn’t get off with her. “Aren’t you coming?” “No,” she says. “But my Mom will wanna thank you,” Grace adds, holding the door with her hand. “I’m fine,” Kalinda demurs. “Should I tell her you found me?” Grace puzzles. Wait, they didn’t call first? Good grief, people! How could you not call immediately? Send a freaking email from the laptop! Don’t leave Alicia in such painful suspense! Kalinda takes only a second to think about it before shaking her head. “Umm… no.”
Well, says Grace politely, thanks for the ride. Kalinda smiles, and Grace lets go of the door.
Still in her bedroom, Alicia’s clutching her stomach with one hand. Her eyes are closed. Somehow she doesn’t hear the door; instead it’s Grace’s voice calling for her that wakes Alicia from her trance. She stops when she sees her child, the relief is so profound, and then Alicia flings herself on her daughter, crying out her name and just plain crying, crying. I’m sorry, says Grace, I didn’t know. I’m so sorry. Peter appears from the kitchen and stares. “Dad?” Grace cries in surprise, and in a flash he’s holding his daughter. Alicia wraps her arms around them both.
Of course it’s then that the elevator button dings, and Will arrives in the hallway, tentatively peeking through the open door. He only sees Alicia with Grace, with Peter in the background, but he fades into shadow nonetheless.
And in a shadowy bar, he drinks with Kalinda. “Commitment,” he says to her as he inspects his beer, “what do you think of commitment?” My guess is, not so much. “I think it’s – something people do,” she observes. Deep, Kalinda, deep. “I saw Alicia with her daughter and I thought, maybe I can do that.” Huh. Here I thought you were feeling extraneous. Kalinda smiles to herself. Really, it’s so heartbreaking that Kalinda will still show her loyalty to Alicia, stepping in when Alicia needs her the most, saving the day, but quietly, without being noticed, without taking credit. “You don’t think I can,” Will asserts, a touch hurt. “No, I think you can do what you want.” I don’t think she was thinking about you at all, Will. She gives him a tiny nod. “What do you want?” “Something more than work,” he says definitively, and drinks. The beer is dark and thick, like a Guinness. “Kids?” He tosses his head, shakes it. ‘I don’t know.” What are the chances that Alicia’s going to want more children? I suspect he wants her more than he wants anything else. “I’ve spent my whole life getting ahead.” He considers his own words. “Sometimes I can’t figure out why.”
“Do you know what Alicia wants?” Kalinda wonders. “No. I’ll ask,” he replies. “If you don’t know something, ask, right?” He takes another slow swallow of beer.
Nervous, Alicia sits in arbitration. “Mr. Arbitrator, before we begin, I need to present an exhibit,” Canning says, handing out crisp, heavy stationary. Which would be beginning, right? “Certainly. What do you have for me, Mr. Canning?” Higgins holds the paper out and peers at it. “It’s an email,” Canning explains, handing copies to Alicia and company. “From Pamela Raker to her sister, from before she was let go. It just came into my possession.” Huh? How did it do that? “If I may: ‘Sis, I know I’m not supposed to hide my light under a bushel, but in this job I have to. My views get me in enough trouble already; if they knew I was a testifying Christian, I’d never get ahead.” Alicia objects. “Where did Mr. Canning obtain this email?” Her voice is dangerous. “Does it matter?” Canning wonders. “If Miss Raker hid her beliefs, then Mr. Clove had no way of knowing she was in fact religious. And you’re correct, that is really what’s at stake here.” Is it? Alicia gives Higgins a pleading look. “Anything?” he asks.
The door to the great hall swings open for Louis Canning. Alicia stomps up behind him. “Seriously?” “Yes, Mrs. Florrick,” he replies, ever so formally. “I was waiting for my daughter to come home, and you took that moment to steal into my bag?” Wow. Double wow. First off, Canning, that’s low. And second, Alicia, you knew it was a false argument? Damn. That’s cold. “No,” says Canning. “You took advantage of my situation,” she gasps. “I did not. I’m a parent as are you. I would never do anything like that.”
“Oh, come on, Mr. Canning,” she shouts down from her high horse. “Then how did you get a copy of that email?” The answer is simple. “I waited until your daughter was safe. Then I looked in your bag.”
Alicia’s mouth hangs open in shock and outrage.
“Are you serious?” she gasps. “Yes,” says Canning, “if your daughter hadn’t returned home, I wouldn’t have looked. I’m not a monster. And I still want you to come look for our firm.” Ha! Fat chance of that. “Alicia, you had a bad day today. You got beat. I know you think we’re cut throat, and I guess… we are. But you’ll always be home in time to see your kids. That’s something to think about. Don’t answer me now, just think about it.” He begins the long descent down the stairs. “Kids need their parents!”
Ugh. I mean, it would be something to think about, if it wouldn’t wreck the show. It’s not like she doesn’t have to do cut throat, morally questionable things at Lockhart/Gardner.
Will paces nervously around his office, blowing out a big breath as he sits down. He straightens the magazines on his coffee table, sits on the sofa before standing and then reclining in a leather chair. He plays with his hands. He’s nervous. He looks like a man looking to confess his heart and make a stand.
And then she’s there.
“Hi Will,” Alicia smiles as she closes the door behind her. “Hey there,” he says, standing again, “I feel like I haven’t seen you for a while.” “I know,” she says, hands clasped demurely. They walk toward each other, haltingly. “I heard everything’s good with your daughter.” Yes, she breathes.
They stand close together, too close. She looks down, and whispers his name. She’s fighting tears. He looks up – she doesn’t even have to say it – and water fills his eyes. He nods, gloomy. “Yes.” “I can’t,” she shrugs, her sorrow spilling over. “It’s too much. I’m sorry!” He pulls her in, and they throw their arms around each other, there in the office, unashamed, public for the first and last time. “God – I’m sorry. I’m gonna miss you,” she whispers into his neck. Their hands cling to each others bodies. From her desk, Diane watches Will stroke Alicia’s back before she turns away and runs crying out of his office. She walks down the hall, trying to maintain her dignity, wiping the tears from her face.
Will sits back down in the leather chair, his nervous energy dissipating, glum and slow and still. He looks up to see Diane, just before she hands him a drink – her panacea – and sits, her face sympathetic, on his coffee table. “You did the right thing.” He doesn’t correct her. “She’ll get over it.”
“Yup,” he says, raising the highball glass to his lips, “she will.”
So. When I say “the dream is over” I don’t mean my dream, or suggest that I’m crushed that Alicia ended her affair with Will. After all, their sexual relationship wasn’t exactly the romantic conclusion audiences might look for, and Alicia’s deeply in need to time to figure out what she wants. I’ve always believed (and said) that it would end – though I don’t for a minute think their story is over. But to me, the word dream really captures this period for two reasons. One, Alicia was clearly not herself, clearly wandering around in a dream life, living out a fantasy when she was having afternoon delight in hotel rooms. She segregated their sex completely from its emotional components – something really hard to do when you have genuine long term feelings for someone, and they for you. Her time with Will was never real life for her; not only was it not integrated into her life, it was so far out of character as to leave her constantly unsure. And two, it was literally the fulfillment of a dream for Will, his long held “school yard crush,” more than a decade of longing brought to fruition. And it opened wonderful visions for him of a life, of love, of something to care about outside work. He doesn’t have to say that he’ll never get over Alicia for us to know it.
Basically, I think this was inevitable. Is it ridiculous of her to blame the affair for Grace going off grid? Absolutely. But there was no way it could stand.
And those two really have a lot to learn. Like how to talk to each other. What are the chances Will’s going to pass on the information about Wendy’s investigation now? Maybe Eli will do it. That’s not as satisfying, but it could be very effective. I still want to hug Eli for immediately knowing that was information Alicia should have.
I’m sure a lot of people are wondering if Will’s initial conversation with Kalinda meant that he would have given up Alicia if necessary to get out from under Peter’s thumb. I don’t take it that way; it’s possible, certainly, but it seemed to me more of a fishing expedition. He can’t fight Peter (or Wendy, but really, Peter, who buys the gas) without knowing what his agenda is. He wanted the fact before figuring out what the heck he was supposed to do with them. Now, would he have broken things off with Alicia if it had been made clear that the mess would go away? I’m inclined to think not. We have every indication that he meant to become more serious with her rather than less.
Will that stop him from an ill advised rendez vous with Caitlin? I have an instinct that her dewy glances and his unhappiness are going to meet up in a likely disastrous way. We all know there’s something odd going on with Caitlin, after all, some sort of hidden agenda. And as they’re fond of saying in the Star Wars universe, I have a bad feelings about this.
I can’t help it, but I kept making inappropriate observations during the most tense moments, like how I didn’t know that Methodists named their churches after Saints (I thought that was a Catholic/Anglican/Eastern Orthodox thing) or how cool Grace’s lampshade was – black with little cameo silhouettes, where the old fashioned looking figured all have shades on. Super cute. Anyway, not anything bad, but just stuff that would probably break the flow of the narrative. Like the dialing – I’ve butt dialed people, though not typically with my actual butt. It’s usually just from inside my pocketbook. I thought it was more of a guy thing to put your phone/wallet in your back pocket. I can never understand how people do that and sit on things. That can’t be comfortable!
Like wondering why Alicia assumed that the professors put up the political flyers – isn’t that more of a student thing? – or why it was so easy for the Provost to fire and hire faculty without departmental approval or a paper trail for HR. Like wondering why Canning stayed in Alicia’s apartment even after Peter showed up, which he must have done in order to filch that email out of Alicia’s bags. Or like noticing all the belts. I couldn’t help myself with the belts. Sometimes this show is on funny kicks – all the men have beards, or the women have unusually large jewelry – and this week, it was suits with belts. Though Clove did boast a serious beard, now that I’m thinking about it. Long enough that he clearly combed it.
What else? Anyone else bummed we didn’t get to see more of Jimmy Patrick? Seeing him interact with Grace would have been so intriguing. I do like Wiley questioning their win rate; it’s like a nod to fans who felts like L&G prevailed too often. Wiley gives me the shakes, he’s such a zealot, but he certainly serves to ratchet up the drama!
I must admit, I’m intrigued to see what’s coming for the next, and I think final episode of 2011. “Parenting Made Easy” seems like a likely stopping place to me, bringing as it does the end of the Will/Alicia relationship. So what do the writers think is a better stopping place? The end of the investigation into Will? A reconciliation between Alicia and Peter? Zach getting into a car crash? I could not be more curious.